Peek

Ver­sion: 1.3.1 Web: https://github.com/phw/peek

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Ev­ery­one loves funny pic­tures from the In­ter­net, es­pe­cially when they’re an­i­mated GIF files. You may give them a thumbs up on so­cial me­dia sites or down­load the best ones, but why not join in the fun by pro­duc­ing some­thing your­self?

A GIF is es­sen­tially a way of stor­ing sev­eral bit­map im­ages as frames that ap­pear in a set or­der on a loop, much like a short film clip. Nat­u­rally, most ap­pli­ca­tions that can record your ac­tions on-screen as a film clip can also save them as a com­pact GIF. Peek is a bit dif­fer­ent in that sav­ing your screen ac­tiv­ity as a GIF is its pri­mary fea­ture, not an aux­il­iary op­tion. This is a com­pact piece of soft­ware that’s de­signed to do one sim­ple task, and it turns out that Peek is very ef­fi­cient and easy to use.

Peek is de­signed to record spe­cific rec­tan­gu­lar parts of your desktop (it can’t cap­ture the full mon­i­tor), so you may want to use it for guides and man­u­als that will ben­e­fit with a nar­ra­tion. The Peek win­dow is mostly trans­par­ent and looks like a frame with a header bar, which in turn hosts only the ‘Record as …’ but­ton and a tiny drop-down menu. The ap­pli­ca­tion en­ables you to choose from the list of sup­ported out­put for­mats, which in­cludes MP4, WebM, an­i­mated PNG (APNG) along with GIF (no sur­prise there). So, a typ­i­cal work­flow is to ad­just and place the

Peek’s win­dow frame, press the Record but­ton, take a deep breath and per­form ac­tions that you want to record. When you fi­nally hit Stop, the pro­gram will give you the chance to choose a des­ti­na­tion di­rec­tory where you want to place your record­ing.

You can use your GIFs in all cases when an an­i­ma­tion works bet­ter than words. For in­stance, small GIFs work very well in all sorts of on­line man­u­als, of which we most fre­quently read README.MD files on Github.

Gen­er­ally, we found that Peek worked very smoothly for us and we also ap­pre­ci­ated its wide avail­abil­ity, in­clud­ing Ubuntu PPA, Flat­pak and Ap­pim­age bun­dles, cou­pled with com­pre­hen­sive in­struc­tions that make the in­stal­la­tion of Peek a breeze.

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